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The bird crocodile

I am a crocodile who lost my smile in the turbulent waters of the Nile.
When I was very small, trapped inside my crocodile egg, 
I had to beg to be born, to be unfurled into the world. 
But the only one who heard my cry, or was prepared to try 
to crack my shell, in response to my desperate yell to be let out, 
my piercing shout of ‘hey is there anybody out there?’
was a creature quite absurd, the weirdest kind of bird, 
the Egyptian plover. He looked me over saying,
‘good golly gosh, what have we here, I fear I’ve never seen 
such an ugly baby. Dear child, I’m sure you’re meek and mild, 
but where are your feathers? 
And why is your tail so scaly and green?'
I started to cry because I didn’t know why he found me so strange.
‘Now, now dear little one, I tell you what I’ll take you home 
and raise you as my son.'

So though my hide was made of leather, not soft down,
my new father would never frown when I couldn’t
seem to learn to sing or bring myself to try to fly.
Until one day, when I was happily at play
at our favourite game, which didn’t really have a name,
but involved dear old Dad hopping around inside my open jaw,
a hippo saw what we were doing and believing trouble to be brewing,
bellowed, ‘Why you silly fool, did you learn nothing in school,
it’s not safe to dance and prance inside the mouth of that monster.’

‘Well maybe,’ Dad sighed and replied, ‘he’s a bit different 
to the other chicks but that doesn’t mean he’s not got feelings
like the rest of us. There’s really no need for such a fuss.’
The hippo shook with anger and disgust,
‘You stupid, ignorant bird brain, it’s with great pain,
I have to explain that all this while what you’ve been 
raising is a great big enormous crocodile.’

Me and Dad stared each other in the eye, 
we suddenly knew the hippo didn’t lie. 
Try as I might, I’d never be a bird
so without a word I slunk away.

Why not try...
  • thinking of questions to ask the crocodile. Then you could take it turns to hot seat the crocodile and find out how he feels.



Aoife Mannix - The Bird Crocodile

Aoife Mannix - The bird crocodile